Patriots Could Add Speedy Running Back

Matt Breida

Getty Matt Breida could add a burst to the Patriots running back room.

The New England Patriots could use more depth and talent at running back, and free agent Matt Breida could deliver that.

Breida once told The Palm Beach Post that he’s “the fastest guy” in the NFL in 2020 after his 22.3 mph 83-yard touchdown in 2019. While Breida likely doesn’t have the same speed four years later, he has posted a play of 16 or more yards in every season of his career.

The recent New York Giants running back has 2,652 yards rushing and nine touchdowns in his career. As a pass-catcher, he has 120 receptions for 935 yards and six touchdowns.

In the past two seasons, he’s averaged 80% or better on receptions and 5.2 yards or better after the catch. While Breida averages 4.6 yards per carry for his career, his average dipped to 2.1 yards per carry last year.

Breida served as the Giants’ second running back Saqoun Barkley last season in limited use. That said, Breida had the second-best rushing total behind Barkley’s 962-yard, seven-touchdown season.

New England wouldn’t need to pay Breida much, based on his previous one-year, $1.4 million deal with the Giants in 2023. The Patriots still have $49.3 million in salary cap space to work with overall.

Matt Breida Didn’t Beat Dolphins WR Tyreek Hill’s Time

Breida sped home at 22.3 mph on an 83-yard touchdown in 2019 with the San Francisco 4ers, and he wanted to let the Miami Dolphins community know when he joined the team in 2020.

“Until someone beats my time, beats me out, I’m still the fastest guy,” Breida told the Palm Beach Post. “I run fast. I just like doing everything fast.”

Breida was the fastest for that season, but he wasn’t the fastest since NextGen Stats started clocking player speed. That accolade goes to Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill, who clocked 23.24 mph as a rookie in 2016.

Hill, whom the Patriots know all too well, remains one of quickest around based on his 21.66 speed in October 2023. Last season, Hill caught 13 passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns against the Patriots.

Patriots Lacking Depth After Rhamondre Stevenson

New England could use another pass catcher out of the backfield with Ezekiel Elliott gone. Rhamondre Stevenson, the lead back, had 38 catches for 238 yards.

Stevenson also didn’t have to shoulder the whole rushing load last year as he tallied 619 yards and four touchdowns on 156 carries. The Patriots signed Antonio Gibson for depth after posting 265 yards and a touchdown with the Washington Commanders last year.

Gibson also tallied 48 receptions for 389 yards and two touchdowns in the passing game. While those numbers rival what Elliott did in Foxborough last year, the Patriots don’t have another back coming off of a 500-yard or better season like Elliott.

Veteran Kevin Harris only has 34 carries for 117 yards and two touchdowns rushing in his career. Harris also only has three catches for 58 yards in two seasons.

JaMycal Hasty hasn’t carried the ball in the past two seasons between New England and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Hasty’s best season came in 2022 when he had 194 yards and two touchdowns with the Jaguars. He previously had 216 yards and two touchdowns in two seasons with the 49ers.

Read More